So (as we all already knew) Yorkshire has been voted the best place to visit in the world beating Paris, Barcelona and even Rome. Given that Yorkshire is now my regular holiday destination, I can well appreciate its many attractions. However, I don’t usually see my home county through tourist eyes. So on my last visit to Yorkshire, my mum persuaded me to take a guided walk around Manningham. I became a tourist in my own city.
|Built in the then fashionable Italianate style it was the largest mill of its type in the world|
Starting at the recently renovated Manningham Mills, not exactly a regular tourist haunt, but thanks to some incredible work by the Manningham Mills Community Association, the Mill has been transformed into a thriving community centre complete with lovely little cafe. The walk was surprisingly well attended and gave us a little bit of history, comment on the surrounding area and the people who worked and lived there.
This plaque commemorates the 1890-91 strike at the mill following a proposed reduction in pay, the workers were scandalously being paid too much apparently. The strike gave a confidence to the workers, a belief that unified, strong protest could benefit the common good. It led firstly to the formation of the Bradford Labour Union and then to the founding of the Independent Labour Party in Bradford in 1893.
Back to 2013, the Trade Unions have just held their annual conference. The Labour leader Ed Milliband has been considering the links between the Labour Party and the very unions that the party grew from. The union conference proposed properly paid skilled jobs, a massive programme of affordable house building, investment in the green economy, high quality childcare and a strong defence of our public services rather than the reduction in provision through privatisation and outsourcing. Our jobs are gone, our communities are desolate according to the Tories. Take a bit of pride in your party’s roots Ed and give the people what they want. Be bold. Bold enough to vote for. Without the policies and the support of working class people what is the Labour Party for? Do people really think that the few rights we still have were just graciously bestowed to working people, rather than having to be strenuously fought for? Without the unions, the Labour Party offers simply a bit fairer management of the economy. You may as well be the Liberal Democrats. Again.